Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Castle - Meme is Murder

When a killer (Jared Kusnitz) begins targeting social media celebrities and using his own anonymous account to taunt the police about his crimes Beckett (Stana Katic) and Castle (Nathan Fillion) are on the case. At first the evidence seems to point to a former police officer (David Marciano) of the cybercrimes division but the pair soon discover their killer is simply toying with them all the more by framing the man for the crime. Finding the link between the retired cop and killer eventually leads to his capture, but Beckett has to work fast to break the young man before two more victims are added to his list.

Although writer Jim Adler's knowledge of social media appears to be shaky in places (the app used in the episode is obviously named after SnapChat put has almost nothing in common) the episode does have something to say about instant fame and its ties to social media. The difference between a photo sharing site and a live streaming video site involving fan interaction is also glossed over quickly as the killer uses the app in a completely different way in the episode's second-half to entice viewers to watch and participate in his crimes. The B-story involving Castle's own use of social media to sell his latest Nikki Heat book is also a bit of a letdown as the far-too-obvious punchline is left for the final scene in a humorous video mashup of the author that goes viral immediately.

The episode works well enough if you gloss over some of its technical difficulties and allows for the return of Maya Stojan as the division's computer expert who helps crack the killer's riddles to aid in his capture. As for Castle's Internet infamy it will be interesting to see if it has any lasting effects or if the whole matter will be quickly forgotten.

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